Maybe I'm just trying too hard.
I know I can't be everything to everyone all the time, but sometimes, I admit, I try. For example, for my daughter's second birthday last week, I packed up both of my daughters along with a picnic lunch for a trip to the zoo. They both love animals and since her birthday fell on a weekday, I thought it would be a fun activity I could handle solo with my hubby at work. But, it backfired. My birthday girl was cranky and tired (probably from her family birthday party the day before) and my oldest had a meltdown after I told her we were not forking over more money for a train ride. Maybe it was the weather that day (very humid), or maybe I just shouldn't have left the house. Ever wonder why we (as parents) try so hard sometimes? I do it because I love my children, I want them to grow and learn and be exposed to different places, people and experiences and of course, to have fun! But, are we putting too much pressure on ourselves to have a good day? Sometimes, it's just not going to happen. Your kids aren't going to behave, they're going to throw tantrums or not feel like doing what you have planned.
Instead of forcing them to enjoy themselves, I took a deep breath, got through the exhibits and got back in the car. They slept and I had 45 minutes of peace and quiet. When we got home, we all threw on our bathing suits and got into our bargain blow up pool in the backyard and had a blast. Lesson learned.